292017May

We will step up the response to domestic violence and abuse

We will step up the response to domestic violence and abuse

New Commissioner to oversee response to domestic violence and tackle long-term effects

Theresa May and the Conservatives will today lay out the Conservative plan to tackle domestic violence and ensure its poisonous effects do not harm future generations. If elected on 8 June, Theresa May would appoint a Domestic Violence Commissioner, with a statutory footing through a new Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill, to stand up for victims and survivors and hold the police and the criminal justice system to account. I have previously asked questions in Parliament and raised this issue with ministers to highlight the need for policies such as this going forward.

Prime Minister Theresa May has said:

The last seven years of Conservative Government have delivered real steps towards tackling domestic violence – we are punishing more perpetrators, and helping more victims get refuge and justice. But we will launch a relentless drive to help survivors find justice and increase the number of successful prosecutions. This hidden scandal, that takes place every day in homes across Britain, must be tackled head on. And we must respond to the devastating and lifelong impact that domestic abuse has on children, who carry the effects into adulthood.

Despite a long-term downward trend, the Crime Survey suggests that there are still 2 million victims of domestic abuse every year, with huge regional variation in the police response. The range of domestic abuse incidents and crimes per 1000 population by police force ranges from 8 to 32. Despite large rises in victim reporting in recent years, estimates suggest only a fifth of victims report their abuse. As a trustee of a charity that helps victims of domestic violence I very much welcome these proposals and look forward to their implementation should the Conservatives be returned to government.

The Conservative Party’s Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill will:

  • Introduce a statutory definition for domestic violence, providing legal underpinning for everything in our new act. The new definition, informed by victim support groups, experts and agencies, will help survivors understand more easily if they have a basis for a complaint, and help police and the CPS pursue offenders with greater chance of successful prosecution;
  • Provide for a new aggravated offence when behaviour is directed at a child, to ensure perpetrators are punished for longer;
  • Establish a domestic violence and abuse commissioner, who will stand up for victims and survivors, monitor the response to domestic violence and abuse and to hold the police and criminal justice system to account.